Lessons In Not Sucking: Communication Online

November 2, 2007 by

This is part one in a series on Lessons In Not Sucking. Today we discuss communication online.

1. Lower the draw bridge
Whether it be your web site, blog, My Space or Facebook page, your presence online is a draw bridge to bring people in to your “world.” Your online presence is not your world, it’s the bridge between the person and your world.

2. The call to action: what and where
Always ask yourself what is it that you want people to do as a result of reading, watching or participating in your online presence. Do you want them to come to an event? Request more info? Call somebody? Smile? Tell a friend? Pray? If you don’t know what you want people doing, how will you ever know how to get them to do it?

3. RSS is your friend
The more you can deliver your information via RSS the more helpful you become in getting people the information they want when the want it. From event announcements to volunteer assignments, if you haven’t met already, RSS is just waiting to be your friend.

4. Think in links
The more you have links on your site the more people tend to hang around online. Perhaps it’s the inner explorer in all of us, but when there is more to click, there is more reason to stick. This means linking both to internal pages on your own site and external pages that support what you’re saying. Relevant links can also help boost your search rankings.

5. The 2-second rule
Don’t assume people are going to stick around very long when they come to you online. We make judgments in a snap (don’t believe me, read Blink. And we’ll move on if you don’t engage me, interest me or inform me. If I stay for more than two seconds on your site, well done.

6. Printed content does not equal web content
Just because you have something in print, doesn’t mean you have to have it online. And if you do have to have it online, don’t just copy and past the text from your printed piece to your online piece. The audience is different, the context is different and the format is different.

7. Blog for you, not them
Don’t start or continue a blog because you want a bunch of people to read your thoughts. No one cares more about what you have to think or say than you do. Now that you know that, the only reason you should be blogging is because you just have to get your thoughts out of your head and into some sort of online journal format. The ironic thing is that the more you blog from your head/heart, the more people will actually start tuning in because they see how important this stuff is to you.

8. Don’t re-invent the wheel
If we’re really all about loving people and seeing them get closer to Jesus, there is no sense in re-inventing the wheel on things just because you hired a web designer who helped start Pets.com before the dot bomb days. This is not a license to get lazy and be a copycat, but there are hundreds of thousands of pre-written web code, shortcuts and plug-ins that could all work for you.

9. Share
Don’t be selfish and think that you’re God’s gift to humanity. If what you have is so great, others could probably benefit from it too. So share.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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8 Responses to “Lessons In Not Sucking: Communication Online”

  • Mark Howell
    November 2, 2007

    Good stuff Brad. The big one for me is to work harder at the call to action. Because StrategyCentral got started as an outlet for my own development there are still far too many times when it comes off as a reminder about what’s wrong instead of guidance on how to change it.
    Thanks for the post!

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  • Gene Mason
    November 4, 2007

    Love the drawbridge analogy. Really well stated.

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  • Dave
    November 5, 2007

    Brad –
    Good stuff – looking forward to the rest. Your web presence will immediately tell someone what your organization is all about. If you say your church values people above all else, does your online presence reflect that? If your web site just has a picture of your building, I would say no.

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  • Jonathan
    November 24, 2007

    Got this one from my pastor in an email. Thanks for writing it.

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  • Jermayn Parker
    January 15, 2008

    Good article!
    Am a web developer and totally get frustrated by the lack of good church web content and the lack of people in the church who can understand just how powerful a medium the Net is.
    Good to see some people who understand.

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  • Great tips. I really liked what you said about the inner explorer in us. Having a large site will help in a lot of ways. It gives you more places for them to find you. Keeping their attention for a while gives more of a chance for them to cross that bridge.

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  • build a church website
    November 20, 2009

    Number 4 caught my eye. I remember hearing someone tell me that people love to click buttons.

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  • Revolution
    November 22, 2010

    Great tips! Call to action is definitely important and so often overlooked…. in fact, that’s probably something we could work on! Thanks!

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